Every quarter or so, our account team asks our clients to respond to a survey about working with the agency.
There’s the usual variety of questions, each with the usual 1–to–5 answer scale and the opportunity to embellish with commentary. The results are eagerly awaited and consumed by all of us.
This time around, I got to thinking about one client’s answer to this question:
"Is the agency easy to work with?"
This particular client gave us a passing grade, but also went on at length about how important this attribute is to them. Perhaps even more important than the smarts of our campaigns, the quality of the creative, even the results we generate and the rates we charge.
This answer was pretty surprising to me at first. After all, we don’t devote a lot of thinking or effort to being easy to work with. It’s not a line item on any budget I’ve ever seen. There’s nothing in our portfolio about it. When I walk into a big client presentation, I know I'm focused on whether they like the work, not on how much they like the working.
But it occurred to me that this is in fact more important than the work. It may be more important than… anything.
Yes, a lot of resources get expended and energy gets exerted on making the things we make. Ads and apps, sites and strategies, content and contracts, positions and personas, research and reports. They’re all hard to make and deserve the effort it takes to make them well. They all matter.
But they don’t last. The campaign ends. The video isn’t played anymore. The landing page gets taken down. The top priority, the unmissable deadline, the 17th revision fade into meaninglessness.
What doesn’t fade? People treating people well. Relationship. Connection. The flow of respect and appreciation and reasonableness that people use to make a hard job easier for each other.
Of course, when you have all that, it’s amazing how all the other things tend to fall into place.